Jeff Gordon chosen as Indy 500 pace car driver

Jeff Gordon steps out of the 2015 Indianapolis 500 pace car. (WISH Photo/Chris Widlic)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — This year’s Indianapolis 500 pace car driver is someone extremely familiar with driving fast cars.

“I can’t imagine what it’s going to be like on race day,” added Gordon. ”I’m excited. On one hand because I haven’t been to the Indy 500 since 1983 so to be here and be a part of such an amazing event, I’m just thrilled to get an opportunity to be here.”

Jeff Gordon, who grew up in Pittsboro, will be the pace car driver May 24 for the 99th running of the Indy 500.

“I was blown away,” said Gordon. “I was thinking, this can’t be real, they must be joking, so to be standing here making that a reality is very exciting for me.”

Gordon will drive a Corvette Z06 and took some practice laps on Wednesday. He said being the pace car driver is, to him, like doing Double Duty, which is when a driver competes in the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600 in the same day.

“The Indianapolis 500 is one of the most celebrated races of the year and an event I always dreamed of racing while growing up in California and in nearby Pittsboro,” Gordon said in a news release. “I’ve won five NASCAR races at IMS and the track will always be a special place for me, so to be able to participate in such a historic day will be something I remember for the rest of my life.”

Gordon said he watched Tom Sneva win in ‘83, got Rick Mears autograph, and now he’ll be as close as he’ll ever get to competing in the 500.

“In my mind, this ranks right up there with five Brickyard wins, this is such a huge honor you look at other race car drivers who have done this, they are legends in their motorsport, I’m in such great company, I’m a little overwhelmed right now,” said Gordon

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